Electric cars are becoming more and more popular each year. This is because they are a great alternative to petrol- or diesel-powered cars, and they help reduce emissions.
Car subscription providers have also started offering many more EV models making it easier for UK drivers to find an electric car for their budget and style. See our electric cars on subscription guide, it's quite good if you're just starting to look at these!
In this blog post, we will answer that question and also discuss the different types of charging stations available. Read on!
Just like with other electronics, the charging time varies between makes, models and types of charger.
Generally speaking, the larger the car’s battery, the longer it will take to fully charge. That's why your iPad takes much longer to charge than your iPhone, for example!
In summary, the five main factors which affect how long your electric car would take to charge are:
The table below illustrates an estimated time to charge your EV based on the charger used and the vehicle's battery size:
Table data source: evbox.com
Plugging in your car into a normal three-point electric socket. This can take anywhere from six to eight hours, depending on how depleted the battery is when you start charging it.
Since charging times can vary between six hours and more than one hour when using public chargers, EV drivers will mostly charge their cars overnight, at home.
This way they can wake up to a full or nearly-full car battery every morning and continue on with their day without having to worry about how much “fuel” is left in the tank.
Charging at home also means it’s easier to manage how much money you spend on charging your electric car.
The average electric car costs about £200 per year in electricity, which is a lot cheaper compared to how much petrol or diesel cars cost each year. You can also take advantage of off-peak tariffs from your energy supplier. However, the cost of energy has recently spiked quite a lot so you should shop around for a good tariff. We have listed the best EV tariffs currently available here. You can check out our interactive map of electric car charging stations!
To charge your EV at home, you would need to install a wall box charger, which can cost anywhere from £400 - £700 (depending on the provider). If you don't have a garage, or a driveway, you can still own an EV - see our guide on the topic. You will also likely need a pavement cable protector too!
These are becoming a lot more common nowadays. You can find them in a range of locations, including service stations, town centres, supermarkets, office buildings, parking lots. Some charges can reach up to 150Kw so most electric cars can top up to 80% in under an hour.
The public charging network is definitely growing and now contains more than 42,000 charge connectors across the UK in over 15,500 locations. To give you an idea of scale, that's essential more public places to charge your car, than petrol stations! Also, be sure to read the EV charging etiquette to learn the written and unwritten rules of charging!
Charging an electric car through a public charger can be costly, though! There will be some freely available outlets, typically at supermarkets, but others may require you to subscribe to a particular EV charging provider.
As mentioned above, you might even be able to charge up at your workplace while working in your office. So, topping up can be quite easy!
These can top up an electric car battery to around 80% in as little as 30 minutes. You will usually find these located at places like motorway service stations, airports and other transport hubs.
However, not all EVs are compatible with rapid chargers – so be sure to check your car’s charging capabilities before you go out and try to find one of these points.
Most entry-level EVs are available with an optional upgrade that allows rapid charging of up to 100kW, which can tremendously speed up the charging time.
Other more expensive models, such as the Tesla Model 3 and Model S, can charge at a rate of 250kW. Hyundai Ioniq 5 gets close to this and can accept a charging speed of up to 200kW.
Top up charging is a term used to describe how electric car owners charge their EVs.
This is the most common method for drivers to charge their electric vehicles. It simply refers to plugging in and charging the EV as soon as they have the chance.
This is usually outside, using a public charger on the street or at a supermarket car park. So rather than waiting for your battery to drain completely, it's actually easier and faster to maintain the battery topped up given the opportunity.
Combining daytime top-up charging with overnight charging at home is an effective way to keep your electric car charged and ready to go. See our EV money-saving tips!
This can vary considerably between different electric cars. As a rule of thumb, if you are charging at home using a standard plug socket, you will get roughly 15 miles per hour if charging at 3.7kW, or up to 30 miles at 7kW. This is the charge time and range you can expect from your home charging.
Rapid chargers are obviously much faster, so you may get up to 200miles in 30mins by charging at 150kW.
In summary, for an hour of charging you get:
So, to charge a vehicle to 100%, it will take:
Curious about the best electric vehicles? Check out our guide which covers the latest best EVs on subscription.
Most new electric cars charge very quickly until they charge your battery to 80%. They then slow down to protect the batteries and prolong their life.
Batteries are under the greatest strain when they are either completely fully charged, or completely empty. Software controls the speed of charging to make sure the battery is protected.
Once your electric car is fully charged, it can stay that way for months. The battery drain on an average electric car is quite slow, losing about 1%-2% of its total battery capacity per month.
Do electric cars lose charge when parked? EVs lose charge when parked, although the loss is very minimal. Over time, this can add up to a significant amount of battery drain.
Most EVs can deal with long periods of time and hold their charge without driving or plugging in by going into "standby" or "deep sleep" mode.
Over time battery degradation could become a concern, however judging by latest data, a typical EV after 10 years would still have about 77 per cent of its original capacity.
If you want to learn more about EVs, check out our in-depth electric car subscription guide!
It can be very stressful to be stuck in the middle of nowhere, especially when you have a family with you.
If your EV runs out of power, the car will simply stop. The good news is that your EVs will warn you way ahead of time before you deplete the battery completely. Most cars will also signal the driver that they have just enough charge to pull over safely and they are about the reach the point of no return. You’ll then need to call roadside assistance and have your car towed to the nearest charging station.
Is it possible? Yes. Is it coming soon? Maybe. There has been a lot of research going into building batteries which can handle faster rates of charging, cables which can transfer large amounts of charge safely, and also power grids which can handle fast charging. Anna Tomaszewska, at Imperial College London, projects that the technology for super-fast charging should reach consumers in the next five years. Her research paper outlines the evidence.
Another research carried out by Professor Chao-Yang Wang (et al), shows that fast charging batteries will be available to the mass market even sooner! He also projects that the cost for consumer won't go up, but rather stay the same, or even go down. This is because batteries will no longer have to be large and rely on big capacities, because drivers will be able to simply top-up and re-charge quickly in a few minutes.
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